Summer Vespers, Bel
Topaz, the last light
gathers like smoke above the dark
hills curving west to the fire lookout and departs,
a spirit taking leave of its body, ridge by ridge.
All week we've kept watch over this
valley and our flock.
"Los Carpinteros"— acorn woodpeckers who racket
and hammer through the oaks and on our roof beam. Wake-up,
Wake-up--and a sprout
moon rises at their knocking.
This is a rough landscape, long known to you. A dreamy
brush rabbit stirs but does not budge from the still-warm path.
The fog's gray wool
folds back westward to the outer bay.
Trawling, the jellies pulse their bells—Lion's Mane, Crystal,
Sea-nettle, Lobed Comb, Gooseberry—all those old selves
in the open water, dying
into each other's lives. Now my home is where you are.
At your brother Ned's house in the next draw, yielding up
her heart, Janet Baker
sings Berlioz, Summer Nights,
that mezzo soprano surrounding us like July dusk,
these shadows. Fiercely green, the wild oak leaves upward.
Everywhere I Feel
the Stars of Fall
They engrave the dark.
When the moon is new, an equinoctial tide
lifts the nests of harvest mice. At dusk
the Great bear hugs the horizon
while I ride the new mare into Purisma Gorge.
Her coat's the color
of madrone bark.
We sway with each change in the wind.
She flicks her ears. I stroke the long red hill of her neck:
Lady Pegasus, with scratches.
The crickets' song grows faint.
Above me, Cassiopia's butterfly floats
from her hook of
and all around, forever
in their gauzy net,
Night's tears, the dimmer stars of autumn, etch
the dark, expanding in us here.
-from Candlefish, 2004